In a remarkable display of true bipartisanship, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia expressed his refusal to weaken the filibuster in an op-ed, citing an inability to justify such a decision to his constituents as a reason behind his ‘no’ vote in April. This has earned him commendation from many conservatives, the most recent being that of Donald Trump on Fox Business.

Sen. Joe Manchin is considered by many to be the last remaining so-called “Blue Dog Democrat” in Congress, earning a higher grade from Susan B. Anthony List than even Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.  In fact, Sen Manchin has been the target of harsh criticism from members of his own party as a result of some principled stances he has taken over affirmative action appointments to the cabinet in addition to being against removing the filibuster.

While Sen. Manchin has always been a conservative Democrat, his peculiar disposition has become immensely relevant and decisive in light of the current composition of the Senate. With the Upper House split exactly down the middle, Sen. Manchin might well serve as the deciding vote on certain bills, taking that power away from Kamala Harris who would be the deciding vote in the event of a 50-50 split vote. This has not only drawn criticism from the far-left faction of the Democrat Party but also the enthusiasm with many Trump-style populists in light of Manchin’s support for many of the economic populist stances of Donald Trump.

With such a tenuous situation in Congress, this might shape up to be a very interesting political year indeed.

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